"The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History" by Alan Axelrod
I have been wanting to bone up on my American history and since I have had such great luck with the "... for Dummies" series of books, I thought I would try the "Idiot's Guide to ..." series. My brother credits this Idiot's Guide to getting him through high school history so I grabbed it when he was tossing it.
The layout of the book was very like a textbook and had none of the interesting attributes of the "... for Dummies" books which I have read. The topics jumped around more than I would have liked, but this did make each section a good read individually. The author mostly kept the book entertaining and even succeeded in explaining the Native American issue with balance and tact. Unfortunately, the research and balance seemed to drop off as the modern era was approached especially anything since the New Deal. From FDR onward, there are blind assertions that socialist policies are good, while free market policies are bad. Clearly, it is difficult to write history while history is being written but that only underscores the need to provide good research to back up claims. All in all, I would recommend this book be treated like my American History class. I paid attention and learned good stuff but we ran out of time and stopped abruptly after the Industrial Revolution.